Monday, December 14, 2015

Upended Plans

I could feel it sneaking up on me, this coughy, achey, sore throaty virus that unleashed it's full fury on Friday. I tried to ignore it and push through for a while but it soon became clear that this was going to sideline me. It's just a physical reminder of the stress I've been carrying with me lately - an outward reminder that life is a bit of a hurricane at the moment and I'm hanging on for dear life.

There's something about the acceptance of the undesired that stretches me just a bit beyond what I think I can bear. The initial reaction is to flee, to struggle, to refuse to succumb - but then it becomes abundantly clear that the only way through is to find a way to live within the circumstances.

I'm not good at this. I have PLANS, you see. I have a mental view of my expectations and desires. I certainly have zero intention of sitting in bed and waiting for this virus to run it's course. I have shopping to do, work outs I want to complete, baking and cleaning and creating waiting for me. I want to take the kids ice skating and to that live nativity. I want to go to church on these precious Advent Sundays. I simply do not have time for this - that is, I'm refusing to make time for this. After all, who would want to?

This morning I woke up with five kids in my bed, curled around me. My youngest boy is four, and he nestles right beside me, squeezing me tightly when he realizes I'm awake. "You're warm, Mama." Yes, I'm warm. I'm feverish. My body is fighting this illness tooth and nail. It's not pretty or nurturing or sweet, but to a four year old, Mama is warm. Mama is cuddly. Mama is wonderful.

The redeeming grace about the fires we walk through is the way it can bless others. God uses our acquiescence for good. We can know that. We can hold to that.

My Advent candles might not be lit nightly this year (certainly, our track record at this point is exactly once. Sigh.). We might not get to bake cookies and I might be a bit of a zombie following endless nights of coughing and chills. This Christmas may not be the pretty package I humanly strive for - but that is no reason to throw in the towel.

The first Christmas was all about human plans being upended and shaking, uncertain people saying yes - yes to the scary, unpleasant thing. The result was the most important gift the world as ever known. The same God who sustained them is wholly able to see me through this - through all of it. And it will be blessed abundantly more than I could possibly imagine.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

2 Corinthians 12:9

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